Why the title?

"Pioneers take the arrows"

Oh, wait. I should be upbeat and taking arrows doesn't sound like an upbeat thing to say.

So, let me amend that statement.

It was courage and vision that led the pioneers to leave behind a comfortable, settled life and trek West to begin a new life in a new place. Many of those from the East that went West found a strength within themselves that they didn't see while they were in their old life. Instead of being one of those that just kind of went along with the others in the old life, they became leaders and visionaries in their new lives.

The sentiments of that last paragraph come from a favorite author, Louis L'Amour, in many of his books. So, I can't really say that it is an original thought from me. However, what he said is truthful.

Welcome to being a pioneer. Look ahead and ignore the "barking dogs" that give you negative opinions and comments. Louis L'Amour also spoke of the barking dogs.

In some of his stories, it was usually a father or older man telling a young boy how it was that when the Westward bound Conestoga wagons rolled through towns, the dogs came out to bark at them. His character then told the young listener that the barking didn't stop the wagons from going on to their destinations.

Following the advice of the Louis L'Amour characters, may we all forge ahead with our plans, after carefully considering all consequences and leave the "barkers" behind.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


Recently, I was listening to the Rush Limbaugh radio show, on which was a guest host by the name of Mark Steyn who was interviewing Walter E. Williams, who is an economics professor at George Mason University, a fill-in talk show host, and author. The interview was related to Walter William’s recent book, “Up From the Projects.”

During the conversation, Mark got around to talking about Walter’s late wife, who was married to Walter just two months short of 50 years before passing away. In that discussion, Walter brought up the point that Mrs. Williams was his “civilizing effect”. Further discussion brought out a point that hadn’t occurred to me before, and that was that our wives tend to be our own civilizing influences. As Walter said, we guys tend to be barbarians and our wives, either by action or words, manage to calm most of us down and make us palatable for civil society.

So, for the “awakening” of this blog, please allow me to attempt to heap a little praise upon the woman who has civilized me over the past 42 years of marriage.

It was the evening of September 11, 1965 when a friend of mine and I were on Main Street of our small town in the Oklahoma Panhandle. Even though it was evening, I was still nursing the effects of a hangover from the night before when a ‘60’s model Ford Galaxie convertible drove up the street. My friend made a comment that he knew the driver, who turned out to be the brother of the beautiful young lady who, unknown to me, would become my bride. That beautiful, young lady was also in the car. So, six of us drove around all evening.

As time went on, we became better acquainted and I even went to work on her father’s farm, up until my enlistment in the Army in 1966. During that time, while I was separated from her, I proposed via a letter. I didn’t even have the courage or good manners to propose in person. To my surprise, she accepted and then waited for a couple of years for the wedding, which occurred on December 25, 1968. (To this day, I still tell people we meet that I chose that day so that I could buy one gift and two cards.)

Just a few days ago, we celebrated our 42nd anniversary by me forgetting to even say, “Happy Anniversary.” She said it first. But, it has always been that way, with me constantly forgetting her birthday as well.

Jo has been a long-suffering wife, but she has also been the most forgiving, most beautiful, most intelligent woman that I have known. She has been my lover, my wife, my helpmate, my conscience, and an inspiration to me for years. Because of her, I am even working on a book made up of some of my photos and comments. She has been a delight to me and a definite gift from God, because who else could have known the influences that I needed in my life? While I have given great praise to my mother for the influence that she was in raising me, she was only an influence for mostly 18 or 19 years, while Jo has been around for 42 wonderful years.

Jo’s life with me hasn’t been a smooth ride. For a number of years, I drove semi-truck and trailers, most of which was under circumstances of me being gone from home for weeks at a time.

We have a mutually supporting relationship, and each of us dearly love each other, in spite of the fact that I am not a demonstrative type of person. In fact, some family members of hers and mine have had to chase me down to get a kiss.

While there is little hand-holding, hugging, and God forbid, kissing, we both know that each of us is in love with the other. Whatever it is that we do, we really enjoy doing it together. One of our greatest loves is traveling and seeing the country.

Since I am a serious, amateur photographer, I have long had a desire to travel the country, seeing all that I could and photographing all that I could. I had never expressed that desire, thinking that it was a dream that we could never afford. Then, about 2 ½ years ago, she broached the subject that she thought we ought to sell our home and everything in it, buy a luxury RV of some kind, and live in that until we retire. Then, upon retirement, we could travel to our hearts' content. Needless to say, I was immediately receptive to the idea.
Now, I find myself anxious to reach retirement so that we can go and do the things we like, without the confines of a career, a home to maintain that is in one place, and do it all with the company of the woman I love so dearly.

From Psalms 19: 1-4:

1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
3 They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.

All of creation reflects the beauty that He is and proclaims his glory. And I have such a pleasure to see God every day in his creations. Beside me stands a gift from God, for which I can never thank him enough. That gift is my beloved Jo, His greatest earthly creation so far as I am concerned.

I love you, Jo.


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